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BMW Z4: Buying guide and review (2003-2008)

BMW Z4: Buying guide and review (2003-2008) Classic and Performance Car
BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 Coupe BMW Z4 3.0 Coupe
Launched in 2003, the BMW Z4 roadster was the long-awaited replacement for the extremely successful Z3 - BMW’s first foray into the mass-market two-seater sportscar segment. Controversial Chris Bangle-era styling, electromechanical power-steering and the adoption of run flat tyres met with some criticism at launch, but the well balanced handling and great range of engines ensured that the Z4 carried on its predecessors success story.

With its focus on handling and driving dynamics, the Z4 earned itself a reputation as a great drivers’ car, the M versions in particular are already becoming modern collectors cars. 
 
Which one to buy?
 
There are a large number of engine variations to choose from, however the basic running costs for the non-M six-cylinder models are quite similar, making the larger capacity variants – which provide a decent hike in power over the 2.2-litre cars – highly desirable. The 3.0-litre model in particular is a great compromise between the full-fat M variants and the lower models in the range, and was also the only non-M car that was made available in Coupe form. 

The Coupe, introduced in 2006, is a significantly rarer car than the soft-top. Thanks to the much more rigid body structure handling is even better, while there’s a slightly more usable luggage space in the back too. Ride quality on standard suspension is very firm, meaning that cars with sports suspension and big wheels can be surprisingly uncomfortable on anything other than smooth road surfaces. 

The base 2-litre four-cylinder cars are eager, and not much slower than the 2.2-litre models. They also use much less fuel and cost less to maintain, so if outright speed is not a priority then these models are a great compromise. 

At the other end of the scale, the M powered Z4 is a different proposition altogether. Using the 343bhp engine from the heavier E46 M3, and with a full M-spec suspension system, the Z4 M coupe and roadster models took the fight straight to Porsche and Mercedes. The award-winning engine is one of the all-time great naturally aspirated units, providing a raw edged driving experience that will leave you breathless. Running costs are relatively reasonable for a car of this type, although certain M specific components can be pricey - especially if sourced from BMW.

Gearbox options were five-speed manuals and automatics on the early cars, with the facelift introducing six-speed variants. The Sequential Manual Gearbox was made available on a limited number of the 3.0-litre cars and while fun when pressing on, they can be jerky in town driving.

There’s a huge choice whitch means that you can afford to be picky, and it’s absolutely worth driving a few different models. The driving experience between a base spec four-pot Z4 and a sporty three-litre model is surprisingly different.
 
Performance and specs
 
Engine 2996cc 24valve DOHC I6 
Power 261bhp @ 6600 rpm 
Torque 232lb ft @ 2750rpm
Top speed 155mph (limited)
0-62mph 5.7 seconds 
Fuel consumption 32.8mpg 
Gearbox Six-speed manual
Insurance group 44
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2495mm
Length 4090mm
Width 1780mm
Height 1300mm
Weight 1385kg
 
Common problems

• Parts are readily available and many maintenance items can be sourced from specialists.

• Suspension systems are generally reliable, however the springs are prone to snapping especially at the rear. Front control arm bushes tend to wear out and can be noticed by loose-feeling steering and creaking noises. Strut braces on the rear can break at the weld seams and will require expensive repairs. 

• Electrical systems are reliable, however some owners have complained of erratic wipers requiring motor replacements, which can be costly. Test all the buttons and switches inside the vehicle in case anything is amiss. 

• The interior is well built and there are no specific issues however the seats do rub against the body when pushed right back and can cause irritating squeaks when driving. 

• Engines are long lasting and should be smooth and free revving, especially the six-cylinder models. Power steering pumps can fail on early cars and the cooling system needs to be serviced regularly. The water pump can fail if the correct coolant mixture is not adhered to. 

• On M cars, check that the 1200-mile run in service was done, as failure to do so has been known to result in excessive engine wear. Crankcase ventilation oil separators can clog up and cause damage to the engine, but replacement parts are not unduly pricey.

• On convertible cars check the roof mechanism for any signs of slow operation or creasing in the roof lining. There should be no water ingress so any leaks may indicate an issue with the alignment of the roof or the side window fitment.
 
Model History 


2003: BMW Z4 launched in 170bhp 2.2, 190bhp 2.5 and 228bhp 3.0 litre versions. Five-speed manual and automatic transmission choices available, with SMG gearbox option available on 2.5 and 3.0 litre cars
2005: 215bhp 2.5si and 261bhp 3.0si engines replace older units resulting in lower emissions and higher power outputs. Navigation and heated seats introduced as optional extras, and SMG gearbox now only available on 3.0-litre cars. 2.2i six-cylinder entry level option replaced with 150bhp 2.0l four-cylinder engine.
2006: Mid-life facelift with new colours, wheel choices and minor changes to lighting. Six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes now available. Z4 Coupe introduced with 3.0-litre 261bhp engine,as wells as M Coupe with 343bhp M division engine.
2008: Final E85/86 Z4 rolls off the line
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
• www.bmwcarclubgb.uk
• z4-forum.com
 
Summary and prices

Prices start at £3000-£4000 for the earliest cars, and as long as they have solid service and maintenance histories they can carry on forever, so don’t be put off by higher mileages. £6000-£8000 will get you one of the later cars. M Coupes and M Roadsters range between £12,000-£25,000 with condition and mileage being the biggest influencing factors on these cars.
 
The first Z4 has proven to be a great second-hand buy with reasonable running costs and styling that has improved with age. There are a lot of cars out there with a spec level and price to suit most people. It’s also a great way of experiencing the last of the old school BMWs, built before the motoring industry’s move to turbocharging and flappy paddles, so buy one now and enjoy it while you still can.
 
Words: John Tallodi
BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 Coupe BMW Z4 3.0 Coupe
Last updated: 4th Dec 2015
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BMW Z4
1200 23998 GBP
  • BMW Z4

    £4,695 £4,695

    • Mileage: 79000 mi
    • Engine size: 2494
    For sale
    Pevensey Bay Car Centre
  • BMW Z4 - 2011 Manual 51876 Petrol White

    £12,995 £12,995

    PLEASE GO TO www.a52motors.co.uk TO SEE MORE PICTURES AND DETAILS ABOUT THIS CAR.;;MAY P/X FOR A TRACTOR TRY ME.;;;PLEASE CALL 01205 875363 OR 07429530869 OR 07961 116881 FOR VEIWING OR ANY QUESTIONS.;;CREDIT/DEBIT CARDS FINANCE BANK TRANSFER AND MONEY ALL ACCEPTED.;;PLEASE NOTE WE CAN DELIVER ANY CAR ANYWHERE IN THE UK WITHIN 24 HOURS ;SUMMER SALE WAS GBP 14000 NOW GBP 12995 LIMITED TIME SALE ONLY BE QUICK;;WE DO A FULL WALK ROUND OVER THE PHONE DETAILED APPRAISAL OF THE CAR.;;;BMW Z4 2.5 2011 i SDRIVE30I M SPORT HIGHLINE CONVERTIBLE CABRIOLET 1 OWNER FULL BMW SERVICE HISTORY 2 REMOTE KEYS ALL BOOKS TOOLS MANUALS SUPER CAR THROUGHOUT NOT TO BE MISSED.;MEGA SPEC INCLUDING TOP OF THE RANGE BMW RADIO CD PLAYER,ZENON LIGHTS FULL HEATED RED LEATHER SEATS SPORTS MODE,FRONT AND REAR PARKING SENSORS AND ALL OF THE LIST BELOW.;;One Owner From New Full Red Kansas Leather Upholstery, Heated Front Seats, Electric Convertible Roof, Rear Parking Sensors, 19" light alloy wheels - V-spoke style 296, Bluetooth Telephone preparation, Multifunction sports leather steering wheel, Dual Zone Climate Control, Black High Gloss Kidney Grille, Aluminium Fascia Inlays, BMW Black Door Sills, Remote Central Locking, Electric front/rear windows with one touch/anti pinch, Electric Heated Door Mirrors, Front Fog Lights, Auto Lights and Wipers, BMW professional radio/CD/MP3, Aux and USB Inputs, Audio Remote Control, 6 Speed GearBox, DSC Dynamic Stability System, Dynamic Traction Control - DTC, DDC Dynamic Driving Control, ABS, Thatcham category remote alarm/immobiliser, Run flat tyres + tyre pressure monitor, Xenon headlights, Drivers, Passanger and Side Airbags, Front Headrests, Front Armrest, IsoFix System, Thigh and Lumber Support, Headlight wash system, Metallic Paint, Body Coloured Bumpers, Servotronic Power Steering, Steering Wheel Rake And Reach, Trip Computer. 2 seats, Alpine White;;PLEASE CALL SCOTT ON 07429530869 OR 01025 875363;;

    • Mileage: 51876 mi
    • Engine size: 2.497
    For sale
  • BMW Z Series 1998

    £1,200 £1,200

    BMW convertible great car runs amazing brilliant condition new tyres new brakes not September 

    • Mileage: 150000 mi
    • Engine size: 1895
    For sale
  • BMW Z Series 2001

    £2,500 £2,500

     BMW Z3 2.2i Auto    Brand  New MOT Just over 37000 miles  Just serviced, Electric  Leather seats,  Manual Roof

    • Engine size: 2171
    For sale
  • BMW Z4 Z4 ROADSTER 3.0i SE 2005

    £6,489 £6,489

    HERE WE HAVE A REALLY LOVELY LOOKING Z4 CONVERTIBLE. V5 SHOWS JUST 3 FORMER KEEPERS WHICH IS RARE FOR THIS TYPE OF CAR. PREVIOUS OWNER WAS RELUCTANT TO PART WITH THIS, BUT HAD NO CHOICE DUE TO A CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCES. HE HAS RECENTLY SPENT MONEY ON SERVICE, FRONT BRAKES, WISHBONES ETC., Upgrades - Xenon Lights High and Low Beam Light Function, Wind Deflector, Metallic Paint, Alloy Wheels - 8Jx18in Light Ellipsoid Spoke, CD Changer for 6 CD's, Front Seat Heating, Exterior Mirror Package, Power folding door mirrors, PDC Park Distance Control, Hi-Fi System Professional, Next MOT due 25/06/2018, Standard Features - Air-Conditioning (Automatic), Computer, In Car Entertainment (Radio/CD), Seats Electric (Driver/Passenger - Driver Memory), Upholstery Leather, Front Fog Lights, Electric windows, Electric door mirrors, Headlight washer system. 2 seats, Metallic Sterling Grey, RECENTLY TREATED TO A FRESH SET OF GENUINE BMW CARPET MATS, AND GENUINE BMW WIND DEFLECTOR - RECEIPT FOR OVER GBP 540! Supplied with an MOT until 25th June next year, 2018! We aim to provide a service which is second to none. If there is anything we can do to help, please ask...even if it's just a lift from the train station. FINANCE AVAILABLE - example shown is based on paying GBP 500 deposit with remainder payable over 36 monthly instalments of GBP 199.99., NOT ALL CARS ON SITE, STRICTLY BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. AFTER HOURS AVAILABLE WITH PLENTY OF NOTICE

    • Mileage: 64000 mi
    • Engine size: 2.979
    For sale
  • BMW Z4 2.0 156BHP sDRIVE 18I M SPORT ROADSTER 2014

    £15,995 £15,995

    ** FINANCE AVAILABLE FROM 8.9% APR ** JUST 31,678 MILES FROM NEW ** PREVIOUSLY SOLD + SERVICED BY OURSELVES ** BMW REGISTERED + TWO PRIVATE OWNERS FROM NEW ** FULL SERVICE HISTORY WITH 2 STAMPS IN SERVICE BOOKLET ** 12 MONTH MOT UPON PURCHASE ** ALL HANDBOOKS AVAILABLE ** AN EXCELLENT EXAMPLE THROUGHOUT WITH MELBOURNE RED METALLIC PAINTWORK ** FULL BLACK LEATHER INTERIOR TRIM WITH THREE STAGE HEATED SEATS ** 5x2 SPOKE 19 INCH ALLOY WHEELS ** ELECTRIC FOLDING MIRRORS ** FRONT + REAR PARKING SENSORS ** AIR CONDITIONING ** DUAL ZONE CLIMATE CONTROL ** CRUISE CONTROL ** DAB DIGITAL RADIO ** BLUETOOTH HANDS FREE READY WITH VOICE RECOGNITION ** BMW PROFESSIONAL SOUND SYSTEM ** TRIP COMPUTER ** START/STOP TECHNOLOGY ** WIND DEFLECTOR FITTED ** CD PLAYER ** USB/AUX INPUTS ** ELECTRIC WINDOWS ** AUTOMATIC XENON HEADLIGHTS ** LED DAYTIME RUNNING LIGHTS ** RAIN SENSITIVE WIPERS ** HEADLIGHT WASHERS ** TWIN EXHAUST TAILPIPES ** CHROME WING STRIPES + FRONT GRILL SURROUNDS ** ELECTRIC LUMBAR SUPPORT ** BMW CARPETED FOOTMATS ** CENTRE ARMREST/STORAGE COMPARTMENT ** M-SPORT SILL PLATES ** CHEQUERED INTERIOR FACIA FINISH ** LEATHER PADDED STEERING WHEEL ** STEERING WHEEL CONTROLS ** DASHBOARD STORAGE COMPARTMENT ** ROLLOVER PROTECTION HEAD RESTRAINTS ** SERVICE INDICATOR ** FULLY ELECTRIC FOLDING ROOF ** 6 SPEED MANUAL GEARBOX ** 2 REMOTE KEYS AVAILABLE ** 3 MONTHS PARTS/LABOUR WARRANTY ** FREE DELIVERY ANYWHERE IN UK ** COMPLETELY MOTORING CHELTENHAM and GLOUCESTER **

    • Mileage: 31678 mi
    • Engine size: 1.997
    For sale
  • BMW Z4

    £3,495 £3,495

    Air Conditioning, Climate Control, Full Leather, iPod Connectivity, Alarm, Central Locking, Remote Central Locking, Head Restraints, Height Adjustable Seat, Adjustable Steering Column, Power Steering, Traction Control, ABS, Multiple Airbags, Colour Coded Body, Front Fog Lamps, Metallic Paintwork, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, CD Player, Stereo, 16'' Alloys, Service history BMW Z4 SE. Just received a New MOT, Service + Full Health Check from the garage. Air/con, Leather Seats, 16'' Alloys, Stability & Traction Control, ABS, an Isofix mounting point electric windows & mirrors & more. All Original Manuals. Only - £3495Check out our website we have over 40+ cars for sale to suit all budgets www.purbrookcarsales.co.uk**We pride ourselves on selling good quality cars at great prices. We are experts in offering car finance to customers across the UK.**If you have had trouble getting a used car elsewhere then give us a call to see if we can help, we have flexible finance deals with monthly payments to suit all budgets, Fill out extended finance form on our website

    • Mileage: 138923 mi
    • Engine size: 2171
    For sale
  • BMW Z4

    £14,300 £14,300

    Air Conditioning, Bluetooth, Climate Control, Colour SatNav, Dual Climate Zones, Full Leather, Powered Folding Mirrors, Rain-Sensing Wipers, Xenon Headlamps, Central Locking, Locking Wheel Nuts, Remote Central Locking, Front Centre Armrest, Head Restraints, Heated Seats, Height Adjustable Seat, Lumbar Adjustment, Sports Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Cruise Control, Parking Sensors, Power Steering, Stability Control, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Isofix, Multiple Airbags, Side Air Bags, Auto Lighting, Electric retractable hard top, Headlamp Jetwash, Auto-dip Rearview, Automatic Electric Windows, Electric Handbrake, Electric Mirrors, Radio, Steering Wheel Audio Controls, Auxiliary Input, USB, Daytime running lights, Media screen, Tyre Pressure monitor, 19'' Alloys, Comprehensive history

    • Mileage: 58700 mi
    • Engine size: 1997
    For sale
  • BMW Z Series 2005

    £2,795 £2,795

    2 OWNERS 2 KEYS 10 STAMPS IN SERVICE BOOK FULL HISTORY BLACK HEATED LEATHER SEATS PARKING AID POWER ROOF WINDOWS MIRRORS DRIVES PERFECT GOOD CONDITION 07882219667

    • Mileage: 149000 mi
    • Engine size: 1995
    For sale
  • BMW Z4 Z4 SDRIVE20I ROADSTER-OVER 4K OF OPTIONS-INCLUDING PRO SAT NAV-KANSAS LEATHER 2012

    £15,495 £15,495

    Metallic Sapphire Black, Supplied With The Market Leading Three Year RAC Platinum Warranty and 12 Months Complimentary RAC Membership, Two Private Owners With Full A BMW Service History, Over GBP 4k Of Options Including BMW Professional Wide Screen Multimedia Navigation With Bluetooth Music Streaming and Hard Drive For Music Storage, Heated Coral Red Kansas Leather Seats, USB Audio Interface, Bluetooth Phone Prep, Climate Control, Day Time Running Lights, Auto-dimming Rear View Mirror, Auto Lights/Rain Wiper Sensors, remote Locking Alarm, ESP Control, ABS Brakes, Multi-Function Three Spoke Steering Wheel, Satin Silver Interior Trim

    • Mileage: 14800 mi
    • Engine size: 1.997
    For sale
  • BMW Z Series 2006 3.0si

    £6,000 £6,000

    Z4 rare 3.0 si 6 speed manual, lots history respectable mileage for the year a great drive 270+bhp but 30mpg, stainless steel vortex exhaust 18 inch alloys with non run flat tyres, Bluetooth handsfree headunit, beautiful heated electric memory leather seats, one touch remote opeed roof (not standard) all in superb condition. Grab a great car for the summer which is still brilliant in the winter. £6000 07715329886

    • Mileage: 107000 mi
    • Engine size: 2996
    For sale
  • BMW Z4

    £17,995 £17,995

    Air Conditioning, Bluetooth, Climate Control, Dual Climate Zones, Full Leather, Xenon Headlamps, Alarm, Anti-Theft System, Immobiliser, Remote Central Locking, Colour Coded Interior, Front Centre Armrest, Head Restraints, Heated Seats, Height Adjustable Seat, Sports Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Cruise Control, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Parking Sensors, Power Steering, Stability Control, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Brake Assist, Multiple Airbags, Auto Lighting, Colour Coded Body, Electric retractable hard top, Front Fog Lamps, Headlamp Jetwash, Rear Spoiler, Auto-dip Rearview, Automatic Electric Windows, Electric Handbrake, Electric Mirrors, Push Button Start, CD Player, Radio, Steering Wheel Audio Controls, Stereo, 19'' Alloys, Full service history A fabulous one owner example of the Twin Turbo Z4 model with a full service history from new and an incredible specification including Electric Hard Top, Telephone, Full Leather, 19'' M Sport Alloy wheels, Front & Rear Parking Sensors and much more. Fantastic value at this price and not to be missed!

    • Mileage: 23602 mi
    • Engine size: 1997
    For sale
  • BMW Z4 ON SALE NOW

    £12,995 £12,995

    BMW Z4 presented in Black Sapphire comes with a full history and the following specification; two tone leather, electric heated seats, three spoke multi-function leather steering wheel, climate control, satellite navigation, bluetooth phone connectivity, cruise control, rear park assist, automatic lights, electric mirrors and 18" alloy wheels. Part exchange welcome, competitive finance available. Viewings welcome by appointment only. Body: Coupe Transmission: Manual Mileage: 80,000 Fuel Type: Petrol Registered: 2007 (07) Doors: 2 Engine Size: 3.0 Finished in: Black Sapphire

    • Year: 2007
    • Mileage: 80000 mi
    For sale
  • BMW Z4

    £10,990 £10,990

    Bluetooth, Air Conditioning, Full Leather, Alarm, Central Locking, Remote Central Locking, Electric Seats, Head Restraints, Heated Seats, Air Bag, ABS, Colour Coded Body, Front Fog Lamps, Electric Handbrake, Electric Front Windows, Electric Windows, Push Button Start, CD Player, Radio, Factory Hard Top, Locking Wheel Nuts, Alcantara Leather, Trip Computer, Multi-Disc CD Player This lovely example has had just two owners from new, benefits from a full service history and comes with a full leather interior, air-conditioning, remote central-locking, stereo/CD etc. Low rate flexible finance is available. Full details upon request.

    • Mileage: 75000 mi
    • Engine size: 2497
    For sale
  • BMW Z4 Z4 SI SPORT ROADSTER 2006

    £7,995 £7,995

    BMW Z4 Z4 SI SPORT ROADSTER LIMITED EDITION IN PHOENIX YELLOW (Manual), 80,000 miles WITH 2 TONE YELLOW LEATHER TRIM.;;VERY RARE CAR;;Features include Sports Seats, CD Player, Front Heated Seats, Service History, Warranted Mileage, Electric Mirrors, Metallic Paint, Sports Pack, Bluetooth Phone Conn, Front Fog Lights, Remote Locking, V5 Reg Doc, Electric Adjustable Seats, Leather Interior, Spare Key, Alarm, Front Arm Rest, Rear Parking Sensors, Upgraded Alloys, Colour Coded, Immobiliser, Six Speed Gearbox, Air Conditioning, Electric Windows, Power Assisted Steering, Trip Computer, Central Locking, HPI Clear, Service Indicator, ABS, Electric Roof, Multi Function Steering Wheel.;;Only GBP 7,995;;

    • Mileage: 80000 mi
    • Engine size: 2.996
    For sale
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